Dale A. Russell is a vertebrate paleontologist whose contribution to anthropology is limited to a 1981 paper published with model-maker Ron Séguin proposing a hypothetical hominid-like “dinosauroid” evolutionary endpoint for troodontid dinosaurs. Russell and Séguin postulated that if non-avian dinosaurs had not become extinct, they could have evolved, as did primates, toward a hominid form that is an evolutionary ideal for intelligent beings.
Russell received his BA in general science from the University of Oregon, Eugene in 1958, his master’s in paleontology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1960, and his PhD in geology from Columbia University in 1964. He conducted postdoctoral research at Yale University under John Ostrom before becoming curator of vertebrates at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, where he spent most of his career. It was during his time in Canada that he described the troodontid dinosaur Stenonychosaurus, which served as the inspiration for his controversial “dinosauroid” paper published in 1981. During his career, he has participated in field-work in Mongolia and has described a number of dinosaurs from around the world. He is also noted for his 1971 paper with physicist Wallace Tucker suggesting that a supernova led to the extinction of the dinosaurs, which, while never widely accepted, was the first extraterrestrial hypothesis for dinosaur extinction. He is further noted for the description of a fossilized heart in a specimen of the dinosaur Thescelosaurus in 2000, which is now considered unlikely. He is currently the Senior Curator of Paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and a visiting professor at North Carolina State University.